I’m in Love with the Villainess: She’s So Cheeky for a Commoner, Vol. 2

y Inori and Hanagata. Released in Japan as “Heimin no Kuse ni Namaikina!” by GL Bunko. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Kevin Ishizaka..

This is a very good second volume in this spinoff series, which sets out to show us Claire’s changing views in more depth and also flesh out some of the minor characters. It succeeds, but there’s also a feeling here that this is the middle volume of a trilogy. A lot of things we know will pay off in the third book are bubbling under here, but the lack of a real climax to the book does make it a bit unsatisfying. That said, overall I’m quite happy. This book reminds us that the goal for the visual novel Rae finds herself in is revolution, and that it’s still lurking. The anime, by necessity of only getting through Manaria, was barely able to touch on this, and Claire’s ignorance and tsundere stubbornness made it a wee bit unsatisfying. That changes here. Claire is learning how the commoners live, and how the commoners die. And she’s also learning how nobles live and what they do to keep that lifestyle. And she hates it.

Claire is having a bit of trouble warming up to her commoner classmate, who confesses her love but who Claire can’t take seriously. Perhaps things will change with the arrival of Manaria from the Sousse Kingdom, who Claire “greatly admires” and had a massive crush on as a child when she was is despair over the death of her mother and also thought Manaria was a boy. The result of Manaria’s visit will change her relationship with Rae forever. We then see Claire and Rae travel to Rae’s hometown, where Claire eats commoner food, has a pathetic attempt at learning to swim, and fights off undead pirate ghosts. Finally, back at school, they deal with Yu’s real gender, and how the Church is tied up in all of this. Claire’s social consciousness is growing by the day, and she knows that things cannot stay the way they are.

Claire’s POV is still the best reason to get this, but I must admit my favorite part of the book is the development of “Those Two Girls”, aka Loretta and Pepi. Both of them get a tremendous amount of character building in this book. Loretta is being potentially married off to someone involved in human trafficking, and also is forced to deal with the fact that commanding an army in real life, as opposed to supervised by her family, means she is sending some people out there to die. Pepi, meanwhile, also discovers that her family is up to their neck in bad things, and things are too dangerous for her to confide in either Claire or Loretta. It doesn’t help that Pepi has realized that her feelings for Loretta are romantic in nature. The only one who remains in a holding pattern in this volume is Catherine, who continues to stay in her dorm room, doling out advice to Claire and ominously foreshadowing her own fate. Clearly this will pay off in the final book, but it does not here.

It does, however, really make me want to read the final volume in this series. It was 14 months here between Vol. 1 and 2, hopefully it won’t be as long between 2 and 3.

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